Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C. has 29 new COVID-19 cases, second poultry plant affected

Two cases at Coquitlam plant, new outbreaks in two hospitals

B.C. recorded 29 new positive tests for the COVID-19 coronavirus April 23, including two employees at a second poultry plant in Coquitlam.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the Superior Poultry plant is operated by the same company as the United Poultry plant in Vancouver reported earlier.

Henry said health officials are also dealing with new outbreaks in acute care units at Ridge Meadows Hospital in Maple Ridge and Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, where previous cases have been contained.

An additional senior care home in Kelowna is also in outbreak protocol for the novel coronavirus. Henry said 10 B.C. senior facilities have been cleared after showing no new cases for the incubation period.

Four more people have died since Wednesday, bringing the total fatalities to 94.

The new cases bring B.C.’s total positive tests since the pandemic began to 1,824, with 755 in Vancouver Coastal Health region, 760 in Fraser Health, 111 in Vancouver Island Health, 156 in Interior Health and 42 in Northern Health.

Henry said the lower numbers of new cases in recent days are encouraging, but physical distance and other precautions must be maintained as restrictions are gradually eased on gatherings, business and travel.

“It may be as long as a year,” Henry said. “Now is not the time to tip the scales against us with careless actions.”

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Health Minister Adrian Dix and Henry reported April 22 that B.C. had 71 new cases the highest total for the month. That included 28 new positive tests from employees at a United Poultry processing plant in Vancouver, which Premier John Horgan described as “disappointing on a whole host of levels.”

“It will skew our numbers in the short-term,” Horgan said April 22. “But it highlights, I think, how important it is, as we look to that period when we come out from underneath the restrictions that have been in place, that we ensure that workplaces are indeed safe.”

Two meat packing plants in Alberta and one in Quebec have also been closed due to COVID-19 outbreaks among staff.


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tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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